UPE News Update

April 19, 2019

The Best Type of Connectedness

By Chris Briggs-Hale

Guess what? Little humans need lots of of face-to-face time with other loving human to grow big, powerful brains. Talking, sharing, laughing is a big part of the most excellent types of academic learning. Who would have thunk?

In Amanda Ripley’s wonderful book, The Smartest Kids in the World and How they Got There (which, by the way, I highly recommend), she compares the US public school cultural and policy practices around schooling in a number of higher achieving countries around the world. Her work, and an increasing body of evidence suggest something important: With the increase of digitized knowledge, children need even more time developing with humans to make sense of this wonderful new way to disseminate knowledge. What was considered excellence in education thirty years ago can empirically be proven to be only “adequate” in the new global economy. In addition to this book, increasing research is showing that brains grow when children are constantly connected to the love and thinking of other people in healthy, daily cultures - both at school and at home.

In addition to what we do, all day long, every day, to prepare the best academically and socially prepared children, here are some 21st Century ways to promote powerful human brain growth:

  1. Reading aloud to your child for ten minutes a day. It’s possible this might be the single best thing you can do for your child, academically, if you have limited time. Challenge: Can you read aloud to your child no less than 10 minutes per day? Here’s a beautiful book chronicling the story of a father and daughter who did this for 1000 days. It changes lives: The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. Reading with a child creates powerful human connections.

  2. Putting your phone down. Parents are increasingly disengaged due to technology. Designate a “technology free” time each day and do nothing but visit with your child. Lots and lots and lots of face-to-face connection builds important neural networks in a child’s brain.

  3. Turning off the TV and put away the video games. If we want to raise highly prepared, outstanding people, seriously consider how technology is being used in your home to realize that goal.

  4. Knowing the names of your children’s friends. Many parents don’t know the names of their children’s friends, the very people your child might be spending their entire day with. Knowing what’s going on in your child’s life means knowing about the people they care for. When you do this, you celebrate their hard-earned human connections.

  5. Cooking with your child. Huge benefits come from simply cooking together. Food builds powerful human connections.

  6. Laughing with your child. Find time to find what appropriate, innocent things makes your child laugh his or her head off. Then, join him or her in these moments of pure joy!

  7. Eating dinner with your child. Simply having time to face each other with no other distractions fulfills so many “attachment” needs. Sometimes, all a child needs to grow up healthy and smart is to feel “attached” to people they love – every single day.

This is just a start. But, as you can see, building meaningful, loving, caring human connection for your child is a priority. Research shows that the strategies above are becoming ever more advantageous for children than ever before

Plus, taking the time to connect with your child in these ways is really fun to do. Have a blast being part of the ever-increasing movement of parents who are “reconnecting” their children...not to the internet, but to other beautiful, wonderful human beings!

Loving human connection grows brains!

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CaveSim Reminder

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Reminder: On Wednesday, April 24th, the CaveSim trailer will be at Ute Pass Elementary School for the second year in a row to teach all students at Ute Pass about caving, teamwork, STEM, and more! With help from our HEART committee this amazing experience is provided at no cost to families. The curriculum and technology is created and run by Mr. Dave Jackson, a Manitou Springs resident and MIT graduate who is excited to share an incredible experience with students. This year we are able to bring the CaveSim back thanks to a significant discount. OutThere Colorado will be gathering some footage of the educational experience to be used by CaveSim to create a video that explains the structure and benefit of this program.

What it is: CaveSim is an interactive trailer that allows children to explore simulated caving experiences. Along the way, they learn science, geology, and many other things. Each class will have a slightly different program based on their age and what they have been learning this year in their individual classes. Safety is a priority for both Ute Pass Elementary and CaveSim! Each class will have a short lesson and activity outside and then students will have an opportunity to go through the 60' of cave passages in the trailer based on their level of comfort. We will have staff members at the trailer and all students going through the passages will use a helmet and headlamp. There are exits throughout the passages and participants are never more than 12' from an exit. All students will have the option of going through the cave in a small group led by a teacher.

Please note that any Ute Pass student must have the waiver filled out by a parent or guardian prior to April 24th in order to take part in the activities that day. If you have not filled out this waiver or are unsure, please check with your child's teacher or go to: https://www.cavesim.com/pages/waiver to fill it out online.

What You Need To Do: Waiver and talent release will need to be filled out and turned into the classroom teachers. Students are asked to wear pants, and closed-toed shoes to school that day.

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The power of taking the classroom outside - 2nd grade releases butterflies!

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Ute Pass Elementary Activities

Monday, April 22, 2019

8:15am-2:30pm 4th to State Capital


3:00pm Bus departs Connect 14 Classes in Manitou

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

School Pictures

8:45am – 2:30pm 6th grade mountain biking

2:50pm-4:00pm STAR After School Study, Into the Woods

3:00pm Bus departs Connect 14 Classes in Manitou

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


2:50pm-4:00pm Rockin Robotics

3:00pm Bus departs Connect 14 Classes in Manitou

Thursday, April 25, 2019

9:00am-1:00pm 6th and Kindergarten to Red Rocks

2:50pm-4:00pm STAR After School Study, Book Making

3:00pm Bus departs Connect 14 Classes in Manitou

Friday, April 26, 2019

8:45am-9:15am High School Jazz Band

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Breakfast/Lunch Prices

Breakfast (served 7:35-7:55am): $1.25 for students and $2.15 for adults

Lunch: $2.65 for students and $3.60 for adults

Milk: $.50

Free and Reduced lunch forms available in the office.

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*** Please Note:

The dates for Parent-Teacher Conferences and early release days have not yet been set.

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